Sens switch off PPV channel

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

It's looking like Senators fans will be spared pay-per-view broadcasts this season.

After two years of offering the packages, a broadcast source told Sun Media yesterday that the Senators are shelving the controversial offerings this year, but have not ruled out bringing them back at a future date.

Senators president Roy Mlakar said an announcement on the Senators' final broadcast plans for this season will be forthcoming soon.

Demand among the networks for Senators games has been high, said the broadcasting insider, leaving the Senators without many attractive games to put together for a pay-per-view package. At this point, Rogers Sportsnet (40 games), TSN (11) and CBC (13) will account for 64 games. The CBC regional schedule has yet to confirmed, which could see some Saturday night games not already tabbed for national broadcast picked up (such as the Senators' home opener against the Red Wings Oct. 11). Quebec's RDS network has also picked up Senators games in the past.

The source said the Senators are working on bringing another broadcasting outlet into the picture, which could pick up more games, leaving maybe as few as two or three games not being available in the Ottawa market.

"That's not enough to put together a viable package," said the source.

The year off might also afford the PPV carrier the opportunity to iron out the bugs which have dogged the broadcasts. Due to errors made by the distributors, some games wound up being free to some subscribers, another had a portion of a game blacked out and there have been other problems with audio or picture quality.

The mistakes weren't the Senators' fault, but reflected poorly on the organization.

GERBER'S NO. 1

New Senators coach Craig Hartsburg has anointed Martin Gerber as his No. 1 goaltender, but that's not deterring Alex Auld, who was brought in to replace the tardy Ray Emery.

"Everyone around the league was hearing stuff," Auld said of Emery's chronic lateness. "I'm here to play my games and help any way I can. Everyone wants to play games, play well and show well and make it hard for the coach to take you out of the net. You've also got to be a good partner (to the other goaltender.)"

When asked if he had a good alarm clock, Auld replied: "I'm setting three or four."

NO DOUGH FOR DUCK

The Ducks put D Mathieu Schneider on waivers and he would fit the bill as far as the puck-handling defenceman Senators GM Bryan Murray would like to acquire, but at a salary of $5.6 million (all terms US)?

"He makes too much money," said Murray. "We can't fit him into our cap."

The Senators' cap hit right now is around $52.4 million with a cap of $56.7 million.


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